4 min read

Thursday Bolts: 5.24.18

Erik Horne & Brett Dawson on OKC being snubbed from the NBA All-Defensive teams: “Four Thunder players received votes, but none made the first or second teams. Players receive two points for each first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote. Paul George was first among Thunder players with 69 total points and 22 first-place votes, falling 10 points shy of making the second team. George was second in the NBA in deflections (306), third in loose balls recovered (140), and second in steals per game (2.0). Despite playing only 39 games, Andre Roberson received three first-team votes and 17 total points. Roberson was at the head of the Thunder’s defense, recording the top individual defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) in the NBA (96.4) before suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee on Jan. 27. The eyebrow-raiser comes via Russell Westbrook’s seven points and one first-team vote to Steven Adams’ one second-team vote.”

Brian Lewis (New York Post) on Royal Ivey interviewing with the Knicks: “New Knicks head coach David Fizdale is casting a wide net looking for assistant coaches, but the search still has a decidedly local flavor. New York City native Royal Ivey, an assistant coach on the Thunder, interviewed with the Knicks recently… The 36-year-old Ivey — who was born in Harlem, still has family in Queens and runs a basketball camp there every year — would be a perfect fit on the Knicks, according to Cardozo High School coach Ron Naclerio, the local legend who helped mold Ivey.”

Scooby Axson (SI) on Carmelo Anthony getting mad on Instagram: “Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony took offense to an Instagram post suggesting that Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kyle Korver is a better player than him right now. Anthony and Korver are both in their 15th seasons in the league. Anthony has 25,417 career and is a 10-time All-Star, while Korver is fourth in NBA history in 3-point field goals made. “WOWWWWW,” Anthony wrote in a response to the Instagram post from his verified Instagram account, while posting crying laughing emojis. “Had to comment on this one,” he said and added “FOH” to the post.”

Ryne Nelson (SLAM) on LiAngelo Ball working out for the Thunder: “LiAngelo Ball interviewed with the Thunder and Suns on Tuesday at the Pro Basketball Combine in Bradenton, FL. In addition, Ball told Hoopshype‘s Alex Kennedy that he has private workouts scheduled with the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors. On Wednesday morning, Ball measured in at 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan, per Kennedy. His max vertical was 36.5 inches. He then went through the gamut of pro agility drills and tests. After the testing, LiAngelo began his workout in front of roughly 20 NBA teams. Ball showcased his ability to score the ball—draining shots off of screens, catch-and-shoot NBA threes and played three-on-three.”

Gabe Zaldivar (Forbes) on how the Lakers may end up with nothing this offseason: “Paul George remained the most likely to join the fray as his Thunder crashed and burned upon entering the playoffs. The small forward has long been linked with a move to Los Angeles and his departure from Oklahoma City seemed like the most obvious move in a summer that is sure to be blockbuster laden as pertains to transactions. The latest basketball whispers, however, claim that Paul George, a star who was a foregone conclusion for the Lakers, may actually re-sign with Oklahoma City. What can I say? Sometimes people you love are just attracted to melodrama and caustic relationships. The rumor comes by way of Oklahoma City-News 9’s Dean Blevins, who explains that he heard George has decided his next step, via Daily Thunder.” (Note: This is exactly what I was trying to avoid)

Erik Horne on why Josh Huestis may be done in OKC: “Huestis’s future is compounded by the Thunder’s financials. In order to keep him at the maximum it can offer ($2.2 million since OKC declined his option), the Thunder will likely be paying twice as much or more for Huestis because of its expensive roster exceeding the luxury tax. Huestis could always agree to come back for less or a salary slightly higher than the $1.47 million he played for this season. But will he play? Following Roberson’s season-ending knee injury in January, even if Huestis’s per game minutes didn’t change, he only played in 26 of a possible 33 games. His tenure starting in Roberson’s place ended with the addition of Corey Brewer as a free agent in early March, and it didn’t take long for Huestis to be completely out of the rotation. This was supposed to be the breakthrough. In a sense it was, until you panned away to see an uncertain future.”

Fred Katz grades Josh Huestis’ 2017-18 season: “The Thunder wing played only 86 minutes over his first two NBA seasons. He had nearly doubled his career total by the end of October. Yet, one of Huestis, Ferguson or Abrines was always out of favor. Donovan switched around which one it was depending on the moment and matchup. And Huestis found himself mostly out of the rotation after the Thunder signed eventual starting shooting guard Corey Brewer at the beginning of March. But for the first time in his professional basketball life, at least Huestis was in favor at times. The Thunder declined a fourth-year option on the 26-year-old, which would have kept him under contract for 2018-19 for $2.2 million, in part because they didn’t know what to think of him. Of course, they didn’t give themselves many opportunities to evaluate.”

Sneaker News with a look at the re-release of the Nike KD 4 PE from the 2012 NBA Finals: “Somewhere out there in an alternate basketball universe, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden are still on the same team and winning championships left and right. It’s clearly the biggest “what if” scenario of this generation, but each of these three elite players have gone on to carve successful paths on their own and are now competing against one another for the same prize. Back in 2012, this short-lived trio ran through the Western Conference for a Finals showdown against South Beach. It was Kevin Durant’s first-ever trip to the NBA Finals, and in that series he laced up a crisp and clean white/blue colorway of the Zoom KD IV. Nike is indeed releasing this colorway as the first-ever retro of the KD 4 as part of the larger Art Of A Champion collection, so expect these to hit Nike.com and select retailers like Rock City Kicks on June 7th for $140.”

Around the League: The Celtics are one win from the NBA Finals…. LeBron James finds comfort in a book while facing elimination…. The Pistons hired a new head of operations and are targeting Dwane Casey as coach…. Amar’e Stoudemire is weighing an NBA return at age 35…. A Bucks rookie is taking on Milwaukee PD in an “abuse of power” case…. The Rockets will honor Santa Fe victims ahead of Game 5…. The Rockets/Warriors war of attrition.